Top Ten Ways to Ruin a Good Horse

The Top Ten
1 Let your friends ride him unsupervised

You wouldn't let an untrained driver drive your car would you? Rough hands and mixed signals can cause a horse to become frustrated and eventually start misbehaving.

2 Blame the horse for problems

Was the horse nice when you bought him and now he is REALLY bad? Horses don't just become bad on their own. A horse will always act like a horse is supposed to act when reacting to inexperienced handling. We have seen horses go from good to bad in as soon as a week to a month with improper handling. After having your horse evaluated by a good equine vet to make sure there are no pain issues, go and see a very good trainer or instructor and ask them to evaluate you, your tack and your horse. You may be surprised at what they find. Don't be surprised (or offended! ) if it turns out to be rider error. If your horse behaves perfectly for the trainer, then it is you, and/or your tack, period. If your horse misbehaves for the trainer, then you may want to consider sending him to one for a short refresher course.

3 Use the wrong saddle

Have you ever had a pair of shoes that didn't fit? Hurts doesn't it? Not all saddles fit all horses - if there are any pressure points on his back, that is going to hurt REALLY bad after awhile. Be sure to get your saddles fitted properly to
Your horse for the most comfort.

4 Use the wrong bit

When you go to the tack store, have you ever wondered WHY there are hundreds of bits to chose from? Different bits have different controls depending on how the horse was trained and what you are using him for, the wrong bit can be very uncomfortable, painful and even useless for what you want to do.

5 Never discipline him

Horses will test their riders - if you don't discipline him immediately when he acts up you are telling him that it is OK to be bad. Take lessons with a good instructor and learn how and when to discipline your horse when he misbehaves. It is your responsibility as a horse owner to make sure that your horse has good manners.

I completely agree. If you never discipline your horse, you are doing more damage to yourself than your horse.

6 Make excuses for his bad behavior

"He is young, that is why he bites and kicks"; "he had a bad experience in the trailer, that is why he doesn't like getting in one"; "I shouldn't have brushed my hair out of my eyes, or he wouldn't have bucked me off". There are no excuses for this. Why do you see other more experienced people NEVER having these types of problems? Because they don't make excuses. They deal with the issues until they are no longer issues and if they can't do it then they find someone who can.

7 Stop learning

"Where education ends, abuse begins." The more you learn about horses the more you realize that you don't know. Most beginners think there are about ten things to learn about horses, most advanced horse people know there are about ten thousand things to know. Getting to that point is one of the biggest breakthroughs that students have when it comes to learning. It can be very humbling. Keep listening and learning, nobody learns anything when they think they know it all.

8 Don't fix a horse that startles easily

Ever notice that the same horses seem to get hurt over and over? Horses that "become unglued" at every little thing can become a walking vet bill, constantly hurting themselves. Spending some time truly "bomb proofing" your horse and training him to think first rather then react can be one of the biggest money savers you ever do.

9 Buy a horse that is too young, too well trained or not trained enough for your skill level

"Green on green equals black and blue" A green (untrained) rider on a green horse will not work. 100% of the time you will ruin the horse for life! That is one of the biggest reasons why we see people who don't do anything with their horses. Don't buy a young horse to "grow up" with your children. If you are untrained you need to find a horse that has years and years of experience and will tolerate and forgive your mistakes as a beginner. Spending too much on a horse that is too well trained can be bad too. A well trained horse will not tolerate a beginner who asks him to do ten different things at once. They will become confused and eventually they will just stop working. Never do the above two things unless you are working diligently with a qualified trainer/instructor. You can find low-cost horses that are good, but there is a difference between a fair price and a too good to be true price. It is a difference between a $300 car and a $2,000 car. Both are inexpensive, but which one do you think you will have the most trouble with? Which one will need more repairs and won't be reliable? And if you didn't know anything about cars, would you just go out and buy one without bringing someone with you who knew about them?

10 Think that reading books and websites are enough

You wouldn't read a book on cutting hair and then go out and open a salon. Book reading and studying are great, but it needs to go hand in hand with hands on experience. Don't undervalue the benefits and savings that just a few hours with a good trainer can make.

The Contenders
11 Not spend any time with them
12 Not adding leg while using too much hand
13 Leave them with not enough food

Your horse needs to have access to food at all times, whether it is in a field or not. It is like starving!

14 Break their legs with a sledgehammer
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